Surprise! Minecraft's brand new mob has rolled out months before the update we expected it would be in

Minecraft - two armadillos stand inthe badlands together
(Image credit: Mojang)

Minecraft launched some new creatures this week in the form of armadillos and eight new types of wolf. If you thought: "Hold on, aren't armadillos the new mob coming in the Minecraft 1.21 update later this year?" Yup, that's what I'd assumed too. They'd been in snapshots already, but now they've actually rolled out not as an experimental feature, but as part of a regular old game update this week (version 1.20.8 for Bedrock and 1.20.5 for Java edition). Surprise!

The new armadillos will spawn in the savannah and badlands biomes as we'd been told to expect. The 1.20.8 patch notes also reveal that they can be lured towards players with spider eyes—that seems like a niche snack choice—can be put on leashes, and will roll up into a protective ball when they sense danger like players sprinting nearby, undead enemies, or players riding by on mounts. Importantly, you also don't need to kill them to get their scaley "scute" skins. They'll drop those periodically on their own or you can brush them to get one.

(Image credit: Mojang)

It's no surprise that armadillos are bringing those new wolf variants with them too, since their scute (that's the bony outer hide) is used to craft into wolf armor. Your canine pals no longer need to dive into the mines beside you unprotected. Those new wolf variants (pale, woods, ashen, black, chestnut, rusty, spotted, striped, and snowy) will all spawn in different biomes but appear to be mostly cosmetic variations other than that. 

Mojang does note that different types of wolf tend to spawn in different size packs though, which is neat. All tamed wolves now have 20 hearts, which is double their prior health points, and feeding them will renew twice as many hearts as it used to. So they're definitely getting buffed for battle.

And as if that weren't enough, several other features that are planned for update 1.21 have been added as experimental features that you can toggle on when creating a new world. The new mace weapon, breeze rod item, and trial chambers are among the additions. Those beta features are also available in Minecraft Java edition snapshot 24w13a.

Armadillos have been added because they won the annual Minecraft player mob vote last year, which decides one of the new creatures coming to the game. But typically those player-voted mobs arrive in the next major game update, which should be 1.21 this year. Mojang has definitely released upcoming mobs as experimental features before, but this mid-update drop is unusual.


Minecraft update: What's new?
Minecraft seeds: Fresh new worlds
Minecraft texture packs: Pixelated
Minecraft skins: New looks
Minecraft mods:  Beyond vanilla

There was a bit of unrest last year around the mob vote, during which some players went full propaganda mode trying to end the traditional mob vote. They felt that the votes are divisive—which is true, they can be—and that it feels like you're being cheated out of the other two mob concepts by only getting to pick one. Is there any chance that the armadillos came early because Mojang is planning to add the other two mobs in 1.21? I wouldn't count on it. Mojang developers have pushed back on that question in the past.

In either case, another official Minecraft post today suggests that it's likely close to revealing the official name for update 1.21. So hang tight for that after you jump in to try recruiting some new scute-producing pals.

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor in 2021, now serving as the self-appointed chief cozy games enjoyer. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, has strong feelings about farmlife sims, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.